Swollen ankles and feet: causes and remedies to reduce swelling

Swelling in the ankles and feet is a common problem that can cause discomfort and limit our mobility. Swollen ankles and feet can be the result of several factors, including fluid retention, lack of adequate circulation, or fluid buildup in the lower extremities.

It is important to understand the causes of this swelling and find effective remedies to relieve discomfort and restore well-being.

In this article, we will explore the main reasons for swollen ankles and feet and share valuable tips and remedies to reduce swelling naturally. Among the various options available, we will focus on a surprising remedy that offers relief to many people every day: the Nuvò cold gel for heavy legs  based on menthol and snail slime.

Read on to find out the most common reasons for swelling in the lower limbs and the remedies to counteract this problem.

What are the common causes of swollen ankles and feet?

causes of swollen feet and ankles

There are many potential causes for swollen ankles and feet , some of which depend on your lifestyle:

  • Being overweight: Excess body mass can reduce blood circulation, causing fluid to build up in your feet, legs, and ankles.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time  When muscles are inactive, they can't pump body fluids back to the heart. Water and blood retention can cause leg swelling .

Swelling of the ankles, feet and legs can also occur due to the intake of certain medicines :

  • steroids
  • oestrogens or testosterone
  • some antidepressants, including tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and aspirin

These are drugs that can reduce blood circulation, causing swelling in the legs. If you suspect that your medication is causing swelling in your ankles and feet, see your doctor right away.

Swollen ankles and feet after flying

Flying and sitting for several hours can lead to swolllen ankles and feet. It's called gravitational oedema and occurs when you have been sitting for too long – all the fluids (i.e blood) in your body are concentrated in your feet. The effect should only last for a short time and dissipates shortly after you step off the plane.

How to avoid swollen ankles and feet on an airplane?

  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, especially around the waist.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Try to walk through the aircraft cabin as soon as possible. When walking, your leg muscles contract and squeeze your veins, which helps bring blood back to your heart.
  • If you can, get up because the seat belt light is on, then flex and extend your ankles, knees, and legs as much as possible. Avoid crossing your legs and drinking alcoholic beverages.

Medical conditions or body changes that cause swollen ankles and feet

  • Natural hormonal changes . Fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone can cause reduced circulation in the legs, resulting in swelling. These changes in hormone levels can occur throughout pregnancy and a woman's menstrual cycle.
  • Pregnancy complications. A certain amount of swelling of the ankles and feet is normal during pregnancy. Sudden or excessive swelling, instead, can be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious condition in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develop after the 20th week of pregnancy.
  • Blood clot in the legs . It is a solid blood clot. When a blood clot forms in a leg vein, it can impair blood flow, causing swelling and discomfort.
  • Injury or infections . An injury or infection to your ankles, feet, or legs causes increased blood flow in that area, which manifests itself in the form of swelling. It is often due to a sprained ankle, when an injury or misstep causes the ligaments that hold the ankle in place to be stretched beyond their normal range.
  • Venous insufficiency . It occurs when veins fail to pump blood adequately, causing blood clusterring in the legs.
  • Pericarditis . It is a long-term inflammation of the pericardium, the membrane around the heart, causing difficult breathing and chronic severe swelling in the legs and ankles.
  • Heart, liver or kidney disease . Ankles that swell in the evening could be a sign of salt and water retention due to right heart failure. Kidney disease can also cause swelling in the ankles and feet. When the kidneys don't work properly, fluid can build up in the body. Liver disease can affect the production of albumin, a protein that prevents blood from leaking from blood vessels into the surrounding tissue.
  • Lymphoedema . Also known as lymphatic obstruction, lymphoedema causes blockages in the lymphatic system, which is made up of lymph nodes and blood vessels that help carry fluids throughout the body. A blockage in the lymphatic system causes fluid to swell in the tissues, resulting in swelling in the arms and legs.
  • Preeclampsia . Causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. Increased blood pressure can lead to poor circulation and swelling of the face, hands and legs.
  • Cirrhosis . It is a evere scarring of the liver, often due to alcohol abuse or infection (hepatitis B or C). It can cause high blood pressure and poor circulation in the feet, legs and ankles.

How to reduce swelling in ankles and feet: the most effective remedies

If you have swollen ankles and feet there are several treatments you can try at home which can relieve this discomfort when it occurs:

  • Lift your legs when you lie down. The legs should be raised so that they are above your heart. Use a pillow to place under your legs.
  • Stay active and do leg stretching exercises.
  • Consume less salt, which can reduce the amount of fluid that can build up in your legs.
  • Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight around the thighs.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Wear compression stockings.
  • Get up or move around at least once every hour, especially if you sit or stand still for long periods of time.
  • Ask your doctor for advice: diosmin -based microcirculation supplements are often valid allies for those suffering from swollen legs.
  • For immediate relief, use a gel based on de-puffing and refreshing active ingredients, such as Nuvò Cooling Gel.
gel for swollen ankles and feet

A foot bath to reduce swelling in your ankles and feet

It is called contrast therapy (a sort of hydrotherapy) and it is carried out alternating hot and cold water immersions. Hot water allows blood vessels to dilate, while cold water causes them to contract. This helps improve circulation, which can reduce and prevent fluid pooling in the feet and ankles.

Try placing your feet in warm water for 3-5 minutes and then in cold water for 30-60 seconds. Continue alternating for 15-20 minutes, a few times a day.

Read also: Cellulite: what is it? Causes and remedies

Magnesium sulphate footbath

By increasing blood flow to the feet, magnesium sulfate relieves pain and discomfort and helps reduce swelling in the ankles and feet. Fill a basin with warm water and add half a cup of magnesium sulfate. Soak your feet for 15 minutes.

Apple cider vinegar compress

Apple cider vinegar, highly rich in potassium, is a useful resource for fighting swelling in the legs and feet. In fact, it is usually a lack of potassium that leads to feet retaining water. Soak a towel in a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and one part water. Wrap the towel around your feet and leave it on for 30 minutes.

Massage with chamomile oil

Relieves swelling in ankles and feet. Massaging helps increase blood flow and prevent water retention. Chamomile oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied directly to the skin.

When to see a doctor in case of swollen ankles and feet

As said above, swollen ankles and feet are generally nothing to worry about, but sometimes they can be symptoms of more serious health problems . Home remedies to reduce swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet are helpful for common causes but, in the cases, listed below, it is recommended to seek medical advice or even a visit at an emergency room:

  • You have heart or kidney disease and suffer from swelling in your legs, ankles and feet
  • You have liver disease and have noticed swelling in your legs
  • The swollen areas are red and warm to the touch
  • Body temperature is higher than normal
  • You are pregnant and you are experiencing sudden swelling in your legs
  • You have tried home remedies but they didn't work
  • your swelling is getting worse

Your doctor will ask you for some information about the problem:

  • Where do you notice the swelling
  • When swelling tends to get worse
  • Other symptoms you experience
  • Any factors that seem to make your swelling better or worse

And finally he may order one or more tests to diagnose the cause of the swelling:

  • Blood tests, including complete blood counts, kidney and liver function studies, and electrolytes to evaluate various organs
  • X-rays to view bones and other tissues
  • Ultrasound to examine organs, blood vessels and tissues
  • Electrocardiogram to evaluate heart function

How to prevent swollen ankles and feet

how to have lighter legs, ankles and feet

Swelling in the ankles, feet and legs cannot always be prevented. However, in some cases a healthier lifestyle may help prevent this problem:

  • Exercise regularly to maintain good blood circulation.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for a long time. If you have a sedentary job, get up and move around from to time to time
  • Regulate salt intake.
  • Lose excess weight to reduce both water retention and the buildup of pressure on muscles and joints.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and similar substances that can cause bloating.

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